Invasives and highway departments

floreyAugust 27, 2012

Isn't it time to study our worst weed pests? Not to only come up with effective IPM s, But, here's the hard part, get all HIGHWAY road crews to use these best methods? State and local?

Oh, and not use bad ones?

What about being willing to trespass to go the extra few feet, to keep bad invasives, at least managed. In an emergency, like the first appearance.

Some states have hotlines and websites, to report their worst invasives to their Agri. Colleges/Universities. They research the best ways [most effective and safest] to get rid of the pests. All states should have reporting sites. and share info with the next states.

Highway departments should then PAY ATTENTION to these best methods of dealing with invasives. Using these IPM methods for each noxious weed.

Phragmites, a swamp reed, was one of the earliest plants, the colonists brought, to help settle a 'new' continent.

It was used for thatch roofing. That other major plant intro was used for rope making. ...

We need to go all out on this one. This stuff is almost impossible to eradicate. Should we test the DNA? Maybe there will be clue there. Could it have hybridized with some, one, of the newly popular grasses? It's appearance and behavior have changed. It's gotten really aggressive.

Now it's growing on hills. Why, when it's a swamp plant? !

It's spreading readily along major highway roadsides,

The 'flower' inflorescences are purple, rather than green.

See pictures of huge efforts to get rid of it, on the recent weed post.


That darned giant smartweed/bamboo is blooming all over the place, cut the flowers off before it SEEDS. Lots of cutting will eradicate this one.

Those giant grapes, are escapees from nearby winerys, that have hybridized with our little 10 footers.

Asian bittersweet, russian olive, The lists go on. The northern states are lagging.

A more coordinated effort is needed.

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"A more coordinated effort is needed."

Hot Topics Forum is probably not the best place to do that. Maybe start locally if there's a problem in your area?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:57PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

What about being willing to trespass to go the extra few feet, to keep bad invasives, at least managed.

Are you suggesting private citizens property "trespass"? If yes. I am not for that one.

Presently if we have vines that escape our property line and start to climb the public wires they will cut but only back to your property line. Kudzu is one of the problems that will get out of hand on some people's property in my neighborhood especially the seniors that have lived on the property for many years and are no longer able to keep up with the vines.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:35AM
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I think we must be lucky that Kudzu has not yet made an appearance in our area. Most of the weeds I keep pulling are the result of the pastures and hay fields that surround the gardens. That, and the ever-encroaching roots of various grasses.

I would love to be able to sink an edging around all my beds, but that would be extremely costly. I find that keeping a good, thick layer of wood mulch on the beds helps a lot.

And I avoid herbicides like the plague! We use as few poisons as possible!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:52AM
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The little creek near me has some small lythrum salicaria colonies. Knowing what small colonies can become, a few of us neighbors deadhead any blooms before seeds set and pull out any young plants when seem to come up root intact. We leave the established plants alone since not getting all the root spreads them too. We've been somewhat effective - the colonies haven't spread.

Too bad about L. Salicaria, it's quite a lovely plant.

Now if someone would only do something about Campanula Rapunculoides. Been battling this scourge for years, but this season gave me the first hint I might be winning.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:45AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Lythrum salicaria has spread too much to be controlled manually in many places in this region. It is invading the wetlands of my neighborhood, where there is a lot of flood plain for a local river, and I imagine the seed was spread far and wide when we had record flooding in March of 2010.

However, I have noticed this year that the Japanese beetles were going to town on the leaves and some plants had significant damage. Never thought I would root for those pesky beetles!

Yes it is too bad, if it only stayed well-behaved. It is very pretty, and a first-rate nectar plant.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:17PM
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We don't have Japanese beetles here - yet. Only a matter of time! L. Salicaria has just taken over many of our lakes and ponds... flowers from June to September and can produce more than 300,000 seeds per stalk. It's illegal to own, sell, or distribute this plant - though some people still have it in their gardens.

Years ago there was a voluntary call to remove it from private gardens. Most people did, but the damage was already done. And those who still have it - well, who knows what they're thinking.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:37PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana, C. jubata) is a scourge in California.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Duluth, A good yank generally pulls purple loosestrife right out by the roots. If the "colonies" are small right now, that's the ticket. Deadheading before they go to seed is of course a great idea and very effective, as you've noted. It's not widesprad over here, but down below it's epidemic, and those beetles will be key. Sure hope they aren't the kind of bugs who end up being pests for us humans.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Yes, elvis - I'm pretty familiar with the yanking of purple loosetrife. An "old" plant has an extensive rootsystem; don't get it all and it sprouts new plants. Young plants will come up intact. We don't disturb anything by shoveling, etc., so deadheading and properly destroying the flower heads is our main defense.

Japanese beetles are terrible pests - they don't bother humans (unless one zings by and gets tangled in your hair), but they'll eat your garden in no time flat. I don't know what they'll attack in colder climates, but in Maryland they defoliated roses, ornamental trees, just about everything. Each individual beetle doesn't eat much, but they dine in large groups.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:49PM
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david52 Zone 6

As for the highway dept controlling weeds, all I ever see them do is mow along the roads.

The county will come along and spray 2,4D alongside the roads, as well as mow. But I haven't seen them spray in a while - they more than likely are out of money. If you don't want them to, you need to put up a small sign - NO SPRAY - which gets mowed down - ........

Here, if some plant is officially named a 'noxious weed' the land owner is legally obliged to try and combat it. If you don't, the county have the right to come in and spray.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Bittersweet is a huge problem for farmers here. Fences get wrecked by it, eventually.

Autumn olive is everywhere. I understand the issue regarding natives, but I can't really dislike a plant that reliably produces huge amounts of healthy fruit out of utterly useless soil, soil that won't produce blackberries, even.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 8:34AM
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